First and foremost I want to wish all my readers a happy and healthy Christmas and Chanukah and a have a great 2012!
This is my 68th post. I hope you’ve enjoyed them and that perhaps they might have helped you in some way or brought back a memory or two. But enough looking back. We have to go forward.
Now is the time to prepare yourself to get booked for next year. The best way to do it, is if you are booked for this year, especially if you have a good show! I speak from experience. As I have mentioned in my earlier blogs, Phil (my husband) who thinks he’s the boss of Perfect Magic, also happens to be an excellent Ragtime & Nostalgia piano player. I’m his agent. Every Christmas we’ve been going to Kitchener to visit our dear friends Roman & Joan, who used to live in Montreal. I felt that if Phil did nothing for a week, he might get lazy, so I suggested that I try to book a few shows for him. He agreed. When I started making calls, it was difficult as no one knew him there and they had to take my word for it and take a chance that he was great, not only as a piano player, but as an entertainer. Whoever took the chance, was extremely satisfied. I found that the best time to call to book for the following year was in January, about 2 weeks after the show. The show and the feedback from the audience is still fresh in the mind of the person responsible for hiring entertainment. I call them and ask if they were happy and after they give an affirmative answer, I tell them I am booking for next Christmas and they have a choice of the date. Most of the people are thrilled to do it and get it out of the way. Then I ask them if their budget can take a sleight increase. As long as its not too big a hike, they go for it. If they can’t, and they have been booking him for years, we keep it at the old price. I’ve had occasions where they said there have been budget cuts and they’re only allowed half of what they used to pay him. I tell them we’d love to do it anyhow, but we can’t and they understand. Sometimes they say they won’t have a budget until March, so I’ll call them in March if I’m not booked by then. This year Phil has 9 shows in the 6 days between Christmas and New Years. He says I’m trying to kill him, but he loves it.
It’s much easier to get booked the second time if they liked you the first time. Phil always changes his shows. He has a basic format, but the songs change. It’s hard to break in for the first time, but you have to keep trying. If you are trying for a school show and the person in charge always says no, keep on trying. I found that personel changes from one year to the next. The new person may have a completely new attitude. Now when I try a new place, or if its a new person and they don’t know who I am, I give them a list of references with names and telephone numbers. Sometimes I say I’m phoning on behalf of Phil Matlin, and they say they know who he is as activity directors have meetings and they all talk about him. That makes it easy (as long as what they say is good!). As for what to charge, you can always get a better price for your Christmas shows than your normal price. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and keep on truckin’!
P.S. Even though we are closed for the holidays your orders will looked after as soon as we get back, which is on the 3rd of January. I probably won’t write a blog next week, but if I do, those who subscribed to the blog (see upper right corner under my photo) will be notified on email as usual.